St Louis County, Missouri - EM48sr
May 10 2013
New Digital Voice Program FreeDV beta 0.96 is now available! Visit www.freedv.org
FreeDV and CODEC2 presentations Friday 9:45a Room 1 and Saturday 1:45p Room 5 at the 2013 Dayton Hamvention forums
Where I operate: Daytime: 14.236 Digital Voice Evenings CW mostly in the extra class sub-band. Also, active on 6m thru 3 cm SSB, FM and ATV. APRS/FM using a Kenwood D-710. My APRS SSID is K0PFX-9. In the shack, I monitor 146.520,147.600, 224.980 FM. Using the ICOM 2820 and ID-1. I monitor 147.015 and 1285MHz on the Missouri Digital Group D-Star System. Weather conditions (K0PFX-8) near my QTH via an Open Tracker+ and Peet Bros Weather Station with a Kenwood TM-271 may be found here. Packet Radio is monitored with a PBBS on 145.01 (1200 baud) and 441.050/430.55 (9600 baud). K0PFX-1 (STL) node near my QTH is active on 4 frequencies using the Gracilus Packet Ten Switch for networking.
New FreeDV Digital Voice: A replacement for FDMDV was released in beta on December 7, 2012 and has enjoyed wide acceptance from both old and new users of this great mode. FreeDV with its new open source coder/decoder (CODEC2) provides good voice quality at a low 1375 bps rate. Written and video documentation is available for set up and use of FreeDV helping the new user quickly get on the air. The program may be downloaded at the new digital voice web site FreeDV.org Both windows and Linux distros are available. See more below about v0.96 release!
Thanks to all that attended the 2012 ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference and the presentation on FDMDV/FDMDV2 by Dave Witten, KD0EAG and K0PFX. Amateur Radio Video News (HamRadioNow) taped the conference presentation and it may be viewed Here.
Digital Voice Nets: DV meets every Saturday and Sunday at 19:00UTC (usually starts early around 18:30UTC) Look for activity through out the week around this same time on 14.236 USB. Several stations monitor during the week days also. So if you can't make the nets (which are very informal), come up on frequency. Someone may be listening!
CW: Interested in QRQ (high speed) CW on the air or over the internet? Check out AA0HW's "QRQcw" site...go here. Take a look at Chuck's video on setting up the software program called "rufzWORDS" (3000 Most Commonly Used Words in the United States) to help increase your speed and accuracy of copying common words. Member of the First Class Operators Club, FOC Member #1916. I have been a long time member of the CFO, Member #023 and enjoy QRQ ragchew QSOs using my Bugali paddles and various keyboards.
HF Packet Radio (yes, its still alive!) - SCS (Special Communications Systems) has introduced a new Packet Radio modem which works very well in its 200/600 baud "HF Robust-Packet" mode. I have been using mine now for a few months with the Flex 5000A. When I can find another station using one too (sometimes a problem with new technology!), it is a pretty amazing modem. A very small enclosure makes it ideal for mobile or portable operations as a "Tracker" also. Take a look at it here. Available in US from the hams at Farallon Electronics in California.
PACTOR-4 SCS (Special Communications Systems) has also introduced a new Pactor modem model DR-7800 or "P4 Dragon" which I have had in use now for about 1 year. This is a "high end" modem for HF with a maximum throughput of 5512bps (without compression) so it is pretty quick. This is up to 3x faster than PACTOR-3 but at the cost of BW requiring 2.4khz and high symbol rate. Until the FCC rules are changed, use of the P4 within the HF ham bands would raise some eyebrows. Hopefully, the future rule changes will allow this faster mode to be used on HF. It works quite well on P-3 with RMS Express (Winlink) and enjoying using it for this purpose. For more info visit p4dragon.com .
CWops Club! - I'm a Member (#271) Lots of fun and activity. Visit their web site here.
DRM listening in the USA:
To keep up on the DRM happenings worldwide join the DRM-NA yahoo group. Despite the loss of many SWL stations, DRM stations can still be heard here in the USA. Check the DRM schedule for times and frequencies. Radio New Zealand (RNZI) and "The Disco Palace" pound big signals into the Midwest US. The Disco Palace music with the AAC+ Codec and P-Stereo provide a near high fidelity FM experience on shortwave! If you have never experienced this, it may be hard for you to believe a "Shortwave station?" can sound so good! It can...
All India Radio has began transmitting DRM with a new 100KW transmitter. Successful tests were made recently on 243Khz from Kalundborg, Denmark and their transmissions were heard as far away as Japan. KWTR in Guam has also been running successful DRM transmissions. Despite the downturn in SW radio, DRM may still have a chance in several countries through out the world. To keep up to date on DRM, check out check out K6FIB blog found here.
Radio HCJB's DRM Pappradio: Take a look at the new inexpensive radio from HCJB - Germany. This is a sound card based PC radio which may be used with dream software providing both AM and DRM reception. Follow the link to their web site here.
WinRADiO in co-operation with VT Merlin Communications is now offering DRM decoder software in three different versions. For more info visit WinRADiO's site here.
New SoDiRa DRM software: Recently, I have been using relatively new DRM software called "SoDiRa" developed in Germany. It works with a number of receivers including the Softrock and Flex Radios. Free Software and documentation may be found here.
One week of DRM listening provides good results: In early Nov 2010, I spent 7 days listening for DRM stations world wide. Using a Flex 3000 ham transceiver and a Force 12 multi-band yagi, I found there is a number of stations with good signals for receivers in the USA . Signals SNR ranged from 15 to 33dB providing good decoding. Who had the best signal? TDP Radio was the winner. RCI was a close second. Both in the low 30s dB SNR. RNZI has good "talk radio" shows and interesting stories. Disco Palace and REE Noblejas (Costa Rica) both have great music. TDP Radio's dance music will thump your bass speakers quite well. All we need now is another Solar Cycle 19!
DRM audio (sound bite)
AOR Digital Voice: (sound byte)
ARD 9800 Digital Voice, Data and Image Transfer ARD9000 Digital Voice
AOR's implementation of Digital Voice has now been available for many years now and still remains a good modem for use on HF. These "fast modems" utilize the DVSI's AMBE codec providing good speech quality without the noise and fading associated with SSB. Despite the sometimes poor band conditions of cycle 24, good solid contacts can still be made. N4DVR and I have made hundreds of contacts over the years. Conditions are improving now so if you have an AOR modem, please try to join us week days or weekends. If you want the best voice quality, this one is it.
WinDRM's DV and Image/Data Transfer: (sound bite)*
Latest release for WinDRM is dated 23-July-2008. For compatibility with EasyPal's image transfer using Reed-Solomon encoding/decoding, refer to Dave, KB4YZ's excellent doc on downloading and setting up the encoder/decoder for WinDRM go here. Digital Radio Mondiale's WinDRM docs Release 1.3, Quick Setup Guide and software may be downloaded from the www.n1su.com website. This is an "enhanced" sound bite showing the capability of WinDRM. Recorded in a QSO between St Louis and NY with special IQ techniques.
FreeDV HF Digital Voice: (soundbite)
FreeDV Digital Voice using open source CODEC2 and FDM modem on 14.236
For more on Digital voice, visit Amateur Radio Video News here and look for this video and ARRL/TAPR 2008 DCC Conference DVD #5.
FreeDV CODEC2 and Modem development:
An open source 1400bps Speech Codec and a robust FDM modem is continuing to be improved by David Rowe, VK5DGR and the open source community. David's goal is provide a modem for FreeDV that will provide SSB robustness while continuing to provide the same experience of the legacy SSB mode. David's work is well documented in his blog at rowetel.com. Recent work on robustness may be found here.
New FreeDV v0.96 1600 Robust mode:
A new robust mode "1600" provides decoding of digital voice down in the sub 3dB SNR range. 4 additional carriers were added and 300 bits of FEC without affecting the latency and significantly improving robustness in weaker signals and interference.
The K0MDG (Missouri Digital Group) repeater is operational on all freqs and linked to the Gateway server. D-Star now has hundreds of Gateways world wide! DStar TV is one of the latest applications utilizing the low speed data capability of the radios to send digital SSTV pictures. Take a look here for more on D Star TV. You may find me on the DStarusers.org website. I monitor 1.2GHz (A) using the ID-1 and the 2M/70cm repeater outputs also.
D-Star DV Dongle and DVAP:
I enjoy using the DV Dongle and the new wireless (Digital Voice Access Point) DVAP. Installation was a snap for both and they work good with my travel laptop. I have used them in WiFi hotspots and in the 3G/4G Sprint network. For info on these amazing little devices that allow contacting hams worldwide via the D-Star Network, check them out at the DV Dongle web site here and the DVAP site here The DVAP provides a wireless connection (using my D-Star HT IC-91AD) to the D-Star internet Gateway. For more D-Star info, check out the newsletter here.
The MobiComm Communications "ATV LCD Kit" is now controlling their little DFM900 FM 900mHz transmitter. This TX is now mated up with the Bensat DR903mx satellite receiver. I am using a 1.2gHz FM TX with this Bensat receiver and have found it makes a good combination. Once you try FM ATV, you'll never go back to AM (well, at least for local contacts!). Using DEMI (Downeast Microwave) amplifiers with both transmitters and the loop yagis. FM provides a much improved picture over AM. Geeks.com has a very low cost "pan" unit with wireless remote control. I mounted a Panasonic color camera on it and use it to pan (scan) my hamshack so my ATV viewers can watch me roam around in the shack. It works quite well although some say it scans a bit too fast. Find the $25 "Cam Scanner-WL" here. You may find other uses for it outside the ham shack too. If you do order something from the Geeks, don't forget the little HE-280B USB Audio adapter (sound card the size of your thumb). At less than 8 bucks, it is hard to beat for both price and functionality as a second sound card with WinDRM. Received a couple new cameras from ATV Research and really satisfied with their performance. I recommend ATV Research because they are very helpful with selecting the right camera for your application.
New Digital ATV:
A digital repeater is currently in the planning stages for the St Louis, Missouri area. It will use the Drake DSE-24 High Definition Decoder capable of encoding full 1080i HDTV. An excellent site has been secured which should provide good coverage over the metro St Louis area.
3cm 10GHz Portable operation:
A 10gHz portable microwave station was completed utilizing a FT-817D for the "IF" and a DEMI transverter running about 2.5w. A club was formed in 2009 in the St Louis area called "SLAMS" and several of us are exploring the world above 1GHz. It is pretty amazing what can be done on this band... its more than just "LOS" (line of sight). One member worked 160 miles using similar 3cm portable on a camera tri-pod from his driveway using tropo scattering.
10 GHz Portable operation:
A second 10GHz portable following the "SLAMS" standard (DEMI transverter + FT817D IF) was finally completed and delivered to N0OBG. I have the documentation 95% complete and hope to publish in 2013. The detailed documentation should provide the average builder the needed info to locate the parts and construct a 3w portable microwave station.
I packaged Glentek's Radio to Ethernet controller for my Icom 706mk2. This is an interesting and easy way to control a radio without a PC. Take a look at Glen's site here. Here is picture of mine inside front and rear.
On the Bench: I have finally completed my second test stand. I have the Marconi 2965A that spent 4 months in the UK being repaired and calibrated! Marconi made some very nice gear (they are now part of Aeroflex) but repairs can be take a long time and become very costly.
Zigbee: At the 2011 ARRL/TAPR DCC in Chicago, I picked up a neat product from John, W2FS he calls the "VSC-X" Virtual Serial Cable that will let you program your radio or in my case, a D-710 "remotely" without removing it from the car to connect to my PC. Using the XBeePro Zigbees, I can wireless "extend" my RS232 cable and program my radio in the comfort of my hamshack. Other radios are compatible as well like the FT817, 857, 897 etc. Software is available to test the "range" of the Zigbees More info may be found at John's web site found here. If you need to extend a com port, this may be an option. A yahoo support group "VSC-X" is available.
Wireless watch? What? Yes, thanks to Jim, N0OBG, I now am experimenting with a Texas Instruments EZ430 Chronos A Wireless Watch Development Tool that controls my PowerPoint presentations, check my heart, run my PC's mouse and many more applications.
Software Defined Radio:
Flex 6700: Having started with the "3-Board Set" as described in QEX, I continue to be excited about all the innovation that Flex has brought into ham radios through their SDR designs and especially with the 6700. Take a look at here and I am sure you will agree. I am expecting delivery of my 6700 soon after the 2013 Dayton Hamvention.
Main rig in the shack is the Flex Radio 5000A with ant tuner, second receiver and the 2m/70cm V/U modules. See www.flex-radio.com for their gear including a new tuning "knob." It is truly amazing ham gear. Also, I have a Flex 3000 that is integrated into a test stand. When combined with a laptop and a light weight switching PS, this makes a great 100w station when traveling.
ACOM A new amplifier from ACOM, the 1500 has received FCC approval and may now be purchased here in the US. This one may be my next amp for 6 meters while providing a back for other HF bands for my ACOM 2000A. Take a look at them here at Array Solutions web site.
HPSDR (High Performance Software Defined Radio):
Scotty, WA2DFI and Dan, N4XWE, of iQuadLabs.com are now. Here you'll find assembled and tested HPSDR boards including the Mercury receiver.
"Analog" Operating Position:
Acom 2000A HF Linear, ICOM IC-8500 Receiver w/TV-7100R, ICOM IC-910H Multi-Band VHF/UHF, Kenwood TM-5411.2 GHz FM, ICOM 706MkII, Alinco DR-235 220MHz FM, DR-M06 6M FM, Kenwood TH-F6 HT, ICOM R3 Wideband RX, ICOM ID-1, 91AD, 2820, PC Electronics TC70-20Sa ATV, Teletec DXP-U150 150w SSTV amp, Bensat DR-903MX 900-1200 ATV FM Receiver, PC Electronics 1300MT 1.2 GHz FM ATV, PC TX133CM 900 MHz ATV, and SSB Electronics pre-amps on tower and DEMI Amplifiers.
SW Listener analog and digital. For digital, I use DRM's dream software (v1.17) and Coding Technologies (Now Dolby Labs) Digital World Traveller. The Flex 5000 with Dream software has been found to be the better DRM receiver. QRP with Flex 1500, Mosley CM-1 receiver and Hygain Hytower HT-18, 51 foot vertical. The CM-1 was originally made for one of Carl Mosley's salesman who "took ownership" right off the production line. The radio was assembled about 3 miles airline from my QTH when Carl had his plant on Lindbergh Blvd just south and west of St Louis airport (Lambert Field). Complete with speaker and 6 meter transverter, it is my only boat anchor left in the shack.
Surface mount (SMD) assembly and repair. Test and measurement equipment calibration. More on these activities at www.whittenconsulting.com Music background in piano and organ (I have an old Thomas Theatre organ with an even older Leslie once used on the Lawrence Welk Show).
Tower and Antennas:
72 ft Heavy-Duty US Tower, Force 12 C4XL & K1FO Yagis 144/430/900/1296
"As seen in..." QST Dec 2004 thru May 2005 QST.
FlexRadio SDR-1000 + ACOM2000A + AOR ARD9000 + PR40 = Software Defined Fun...
FLEX 5000A w/2nd RX, Dell Vostro 400 and dual Samsung 215tw Monitors
Copyright © 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Mel Whitten